‘Lost Canucks’ fight for rights

Click here to read article in the Winnipeg Sun
By Jason Halstead, WINNIPEG SUN

Click here to read article in the Winnipeg Sun

27th January 2010

Most Canadians take their citizenship for granted, but the “Lost Canadians” know how precious a right it is.

Don Chapman heads the group The Lost Canadians and is fighting for thousands of people — many born in Canada or to Canadian parents abroad — to regain their citizenship and to change our country’s laws, which he said violates fundamental human rights.

Chapman made the case in Winnipeg Tuesday for the Lost Canadians’ inclusion in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

He said the “lost” include Canadian-born citizens whose parents took citizenship elsewhere, especially in the U.S., war brides and their children from the Second World War, Canadian border babies born in hospitals in the U.S., military kids born in Europe and children of Mennonite Canadians born in Latin America.

“We have stateless children here right now and that’s a violation of human rights laws,” Chapman said.

Last April, the Canadian Citizenship Act was amended to solve many of the problems facing lost Canadians, but Chapman said many are still fighting to gain what they see as rightful citizenship.

Chapman himself is one of the Lost Canadians. He was born in Canada to a Canadian war veteran who moved his family to the U.S. and became an American citizen. It was only when Chapman returned to Canada at age 18 he found out he had been stripped of his citizenship.

After fighting for decades to regain his full citizenship, Chapman opted to get his Canadian permanent resident status last March.

“I did it to prove a point,” Chapman said. “I have less rights than a Canadian citizen.”

Chapman estimates there are hundreds of thousands of such people who have had their right to Canadian citizenship taken away without their knowledge.

Click here to read article in the Winnipeg Sun

Click here to go to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.